Sep 27

Rose Valley

Whenever we think about a specific country or region in the world, we tend to search for the most well-known characteristic it possess and we most of the times define that area by this single distinguished trait. This does not necessarily bring justice to the region, but it is a common practice nonethesless.

For instance, every tourist knows that Bulgaria is renowned, among other things, for its tradition of producing essencial oils. And anyone who denies having bought a souvenir consisting of a small bottle of rose oil is a liar. This is basically one of the most widespread ‘tokens’ one takes back home after a visit to Bulgaria because it captures the essence, so to speak, of the country. Whenever we think about giving our loved ones a souvenir we consider an item which is basically a symbol of that state’s  tradition.

And this specific tradition dates back from the 1800s and it is a custom that brings great pride to the nation. History has it that the first roses were introduced to the country by soldiers of Alexander the Great and that they had brought them for Persia. The flowers found the soil and the climate to be perfect for their growth and thus massive cultivation began. The Bulgarians have even developed a specific method of cultivation which eased the labor required originally in the process of planting, which favoured massive proliferation, but which preserved the quality of the flowers.

Today, Bulgaria prides itself with a unique region called the Rose Valley and a product, the rose oil, which is recognizable at an international level for its unique properties. In fact, the oil produced here is considered the best in the world and it manages to maintain this distinguished quality due to the strict protocols imposed by the government in terms of both testing and production.

The term ‘Rose Valley,’ or ‘Valley of the Roses,’ is used to refer to the area where the renowned roses are planted, an area situated in the center of the country, but which is not geographically demarcated. While many might not consider fields of roses to be acuratelly labeled as a tourist attraction, one cannot deny the beauty of the immense meadow of roses once confrunted with such a view. It is definitly a way of pleasing the senses.

But if you are interested in more than just admiring the fields, that you should definitely visit Bulgaria in the first week of June. Why is this specific period worth your attention? Because it is the time of the year when the Festival of Roses is being held. The festival includes numerous traditions and even though you cannot actively participate in them, these are definitely great to follow, even if from the spectators’ booth. During this week, the pickers wake up early in the morning and go on about their job in the field in traditional costumes. But the fieldwork is sprinkled with episodes of dancing and singing.

Another event of great interest is the beauty peagent organized each year. All the girls who graduate highschool that particular year are signed up in the contest and the most beautiful of them all is chosen Queen Rose. In her turn, after she is crowned queen, the girl has to reward the most skillful rose picker in another ceremony which takes place later in the afternoon.

The city of Kazanlak, with this festival, manages to involve tourists in the traditions of the country and also to pinpoint the cultural traits and customs it so proudly perpetuate over generations.

Oct 25

Pamporovo Resort (Statiunea Pamporovo)

Pamporovo is a familiar name especially for those who are into winter sports as this is a very popular ski resort located in the southern part of Bulgaria. The beauty of the setting is definitely breathtaking; all it takes is to stop for a moment, move your eyes away from the ski track and glance at the surrounding area and you will be offered with a wonderful image which depicts a white background pierced by pine trees.

While the resort is mostly known for winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding, the area attracts tourists in the summertime as well due to the fact that people are given the opportunity to escape the mundane world with all its responsibilities, deadlines and must-do tasks and retreat into nature, at a high altitude surrounded by trees and mountains where they can breathe fresh air. Many choose this specific location in the summer mainly because it allows them to recharge their batteries before returning home and taking their life from where they had left off.

But for the majority Pamporovo is the preferred holiday destination because the resort provides tourists with all the necessary facilities which allows them to engage  in winter sports. Even beginners and intermediates are given a chance to improve their skiing abilities in specially arranged tracks.

Pamporovo resort is situated on the southern slope of the Rhodope Mountains at 1620 m altitude. But the mountainous peaks located in the area exceed this altitude, the highest peak measuring 1928 m (the Snezhanka Peak).

The region comprises several skiing tracks, each properly equipped to meet the needs of thousands of people that come to Pamporovo in search of a good time. Thus, the resort contains 18 elevators which operate around the clock in order to transport tourists to the tracks from whence they can slide down. Even if the weather is not favorable in the sense that snow is not expected to cover the land, you should not worry as the administrators of the resort have everything under control.

Pamporovo has 4 snow-leveling machines and 6 snow cannons on standby, ready to properly prepare the tracks for skiing. These are definitely great additions as the weather does not always provide the best conditions for performing such sports. The climate is mild and snow is expected to fall approximately 150 days per year. In fact, the region is known for having a lot of sunny days during the cold season.

For those who are barely capable of standing on their skates, there are numerous ski and snowboarding instructors willing to help them out.

Even though the resort has many facilities meant to offer unique experiences to visitors, there are many projects underway which will enhance the accessibility and usability of the tracks as well as of the surrounding area. The skiing area is about to undergo a serious remodeling. The general plan is to build many more tracks and housing facilities which will thus be capable of accommodating a larger number of tourists. The infrastructure will be improved as well so as to permit visitors to arrive to the region in large numbers and on different paths. The European Union will grant several funds for the construction of a highway that will connect Pamporovo and the Greek coast.

At the beginning of 2010, access from Bulgaria to Greece and vice-versa was allowed through a new border crossing point. This development in the infrastructure of the region played an important part in the growth of Pamporovo. It gave tourists a unique opportunity: that of indulging themselves with a prolonged vacation in which they can go both to the mountainside and to the coastline, the two points of interest being at a mere car drive distance from one another.

Oct 15

The Archeological Reservation ‘Yailata’ (Rezervatia Arheologica Yailata)

Yailata is the national archeological reservation located in the north-eastern part of Bulgaria. The reservation consists of a terrace of more than 40 hectares which separates itself from the sea by means of rocky cliffs which can reach as much as 50-60 m in height.

The reason for which this specific location has become a national reservation, protected under the state, is that due to archeological explorations, a ‘cave town’ was unveiled in the region. This consists of 101 dwellings, all dating from the 5th century B.C. According to history, in medieval times, the caves were used for monastic purposes.  In addition, the northern area bears the marks of the Byzantine age.

In this part of the terrace, the remains of a fortress were uncovered. The structure did not survive the passage of time in its entirety, but had managed to hold on as much as possible, leaving behind for posterity a glimpse of the Byzantine keep that once stood so proudly in that part of the world. Only fragments of the 4 towers are still noticeable and a gate.

The discoveries were definitely impressive and the archeological diggings carried on throughout the 1980s with the purpose of unveiling as much as possible the past of this region. The main point of interest was, with no surprise, the citadel dating from the Early Byzantine period. But the underground tombs as well as the caves pose as much curiosity as the fortress. Due to these specific elements which carry immense cultural and historical interest, Yailata was declared an archeological reservation by the Government in 1989.

But the remnants of the past found in Yailata are not singular in nature and importance. The Kaliakra reserve holds within fragments of ships and good transported over the sea which have sunk in the gulf during specific historical periods and events. For instance, fragments of massive anchors made out of leaden and iron have been brought to the surface from the depths of the sea. With these, various ceramic items have been recovered from the region.

Near the end of the 18th century, in 1791, a Russian fleet defeated the Turkish fleet and, in the battle between the two, many vessels were sunk. All the goods found on board were lost at sea, together with the ship itself. But the past found its way back to the present as many of these items were recovered. On several accounts, fishermen caught in their nets remnants of antique and medieval vessels. Such repetitive occurrences could mean only one thing: that the Kaliakra region exudes cultural significance.

The Byzantine fortress was constructed on the northern segment of the Yailata. As it has been mentioned previously, the terrace is separated from the sea by rocky cliffs. These contributed extensively to the structure developed for the fortress, namely that walls were erected solely in the western and southern part, the cliffs which occupied the north-eastern part were sufficient for fortification purposes.

The walls were made out of stone and reached a height of 2 m and a width of 70 cm in specific places. At the interior, one can still notice three stairs on the walls, these having been preserved quite well throughout time. Such ‘details’ in the structure were developed with the purpose of easing access to the towers and the platforms found on the walls.

The certainty concerning the construction date of the fortress was determined by the multitude of artifacts made out of cooper, bronze, clay and bone, as well as the numerous coins discovered in the area. The archeological investigations conducted in the area clearly revealed the period of time in which the citadel came into being – i.e. in the 5th century.

The interesting thing about the caves is that these are not natural, but artificially created. These dwellings have been carved into the cliffs either as singular unities or as ensembles. The caves have been analyzed and documented in detail by trained geologists and technicians. At present, the complex of caves is accurately depicted so that those interested could learn everything about their structure and organization within the cliffs.

Yaylata also consists of extended burial grounds which contain more than 120 tombs. These are organized in 3 graveyards, and the structure of the tombs varies extensively in accordance to the person that found his/her rest there. Thus the tombs have rectangular or oval forms and can comprise antechambers. Depending on the cemetery you visit, you can find tombs covered with various images. The Yailata Archeological Reserve has many interesting things to offer and visiting this region means giving yourself the opportunity to learn something about the ancient civilizations that have dwelt in this part of the world.


Jul 31

The Magura Cave (Pestera Magura)

The Magura Cave is located in close proximity of Rabisha village, a reason for which this natural monumets is also known as Rabisha Cave. If you are not familiar with the geographic position of this specific village, then it should be mentioned that the cave is situated at a 35 km distance from the well-known city Vidin.

The Magura Cave is one of the largest caves located on the bulgarian territory, comprising a multitude of galleries that stretch over 2600 m. There is a main passageway which divides into three galleries, each of enormous dimensions: 200 m in length, 50 m of width and more than 20 m in height.


But the cave does not impress solely through its size. There are numerous calcarous formations such as stalagmites, stalactites, concretions of calcium salts, all being types of speleotherms specific for limestone caves. Some of these concretions are not only quite large in size but are also of immense beauty. The “Fallen Pine” is the largest stalagmite formation not solely from this specific cave, but from all of the caves located on the Bulgarian territory, at least from the ones that have been explored up to this point. In length, this stalagmite formation measures 11 m and in diameter, 6 m, at the base.


Another characteristic of this limestone cave is the “pearl of the cave,” a special type of painting done in bat guano. These stone paintings have been created by means of multiple layers. Different details have been added throughout time, each characteristic for the specific period of time in which they have been added. Among the paintings encountered here one can find hunting men, dancing women, representations of labor instruments, of natural scenes, various symbols, and religious events etc.


But the representations on the walls are by no means primitive. The ideas transposed into paintings clearly emphasize that the artists behind them were intelligent and spiritual individuals. Thus we can draw the conclusion that the cave is more of a temple, carrying all the markers of the ancient civilizations which had been in contact with this natural monument.


It is quite interesting what contrasting points of view we have. On the one hand we look with admiration on the drawings and/or paintings which decorate the walls of caves because we see these as remnants of the past, as historical evidence of the former residents of the region. But on the other hand, we look down on any contemporary intervention on the natural monument because we consider it to be detrimental to the cave. And this position is justifiable taking into account that we usually deal with negative alterations. Information is passed on much easier nowadays, it is irelevent to inscribe it on walls.

In close proximity of the cave, visitors can find the Rabisha Lake, a tectonic lake which reaches 35-40 m in depth. The clear water of the lake allures tourists who come from all over the world to set up their tent on the banks of the lake and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere surrounding them.

Jul 20


Albena is one of the most important tourist attractions in Bulgaria. The city is located at 32 km north of Varna and 12 Km south-east of Balchik. But what would probably interest our readers the most is the fact that Albena consists of a beautiful coastline, which means that tourists have access to a beautiful stretch of golden sand and clear water.

The city began to be constructed in 1968 and because the building was performed much closer to our days than the previous towns, the result was that Albena is constituted in a modern design. What differentiates this city from others situated near the sea is the fact that it has varied relief characteristics, so to speak. Right at the end of the beach, lays a mountainous prominence which is covered by trees.


The Forest of Baltata (this is the name it bears) which stretches over the hills, in combination with the beach situated beneath, offers a paradisiacal landscape. The architectural design used throughout the resort was developed with a single purpose in mind: that of allowing as much sunlight as possible to be captured by the terraces adjoining the hotels.

Up north, the coastline is quite abrupt, and while it is basically impossible to descend, it does offer a great imagery of the sea and the town beneath.


The whole city was constructed so as to fit the possible requests of tourists so it is no wonder that the hotels are situated right on the beach, thus the guests having the sea in close reaching. Even if the resort has been designed for commercial purposes, the environment is by no means altered. The area still preserves a natural feel to it, even if it abounds with tourists. Besides the beach, Albena has other things to offer, such as cultural sites.

But even so, it is mainly the seaside that attracts visitors to the area. And it is no surprise that people from all over the world come to relax on the 5-km long and 150 m wide sandy beach. The sea is never agitated; on the contrary, you will find calm and crystal clear water. The sea level is not very deep– it reaches as much as 1.6 m at a 100-150m distance from the shoreline.


There are 43 hotels available for tourists, which range from 2 to 4 star hotels. This means that you will have quite a variety of accommodation services to choose from. The hotels offer either a view towards the sea or towards the hill covered by forests. The bottom line is that whichever option you pick, you are going to have quite the scenery to admire out the window.

One thing that might capture your attention is the spa and wellness center located here. The programs here developed with the help of local mineral water which has about 30 degrees Celcius. And because the city wants to offer as many facilities as possible, there are football and tennis courts, golf courses, an indoor stadium, an equestrian facility, bowling alleys and many more – everything developed so as to meet your needs.

Jul 10


Varna, the largest town in Bulgaria situated on the coast of the Black Sea, is also known as the maritime capital of Bulgaria. In the last fifty years, the city has become internationally renowned as a resort, but tourists have been drawn to the beach and the baths found here since the beginning of the 20th century.

The locality is situated in a gulf which bears the same name, the second one in terms of size on the Bulgarian territory.


The high season for tourists lasts from June until the end of September, when, according to statistics, the town doubles its population. The long, sandy beaches separate the town from the sea, reaching every now and then a width of 50 m. The central beach is the oldest of them all, having been arranged for touristic purposes in 1926. There are numerous hotels and boarding houses which offer accommodation, but tourists can also find room and board at private houses. Thus, tourists have a variety of options in terms of lodging at their disposal.

But besides the opportunity to go to the beach, tourists are also in for many cultural events, not to mention that there are a multitude of places in Varna which are worth visiting. Besides the festivals which are annually held in the high season, especially as a way to attract tourists to the area, Varna disposes of four theaters, a philharmonic orchestra, a puppet theater, many museums, and private libraries. So those interested in expanding their horizon, have from where to choose.


But Varna has much more to offer than that. The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is considered an icon of Bulgaria. The church had been erected in the 19th century (1886) by Renaissance artists. The cathedral consists of mural paintings which have been completed in 1950 and of a beautiful altar which was artistically carved in wood. In order to cover this section properly – which refers to religious buildings – it is also necessary to mention St. Nicholas Church (1886) which is wonderfully adorned with old fresco works and icons realized at various iconographic schools from all over Bulgaria.

Right in the center of the city, one can find the Roman Baths. These date from the 2nd century when Emperor Antonius Pius gave order to have these constructed. The passage of time spares no one, and these constructions had suffered damages over the centuries. But after a long period of time in which renovations were conducted, the former glory of the Roman Baths had been recaptured.

The materials used in the construction of the baths were rocks, bricks, grit stones, and mortar. The walls were plastered whereas the flooring was made of marble. The baths are in fact an archeological site and tourists will be happy to hear that, unlike other archeological places which are banned for visitors, this specific one can be admired up close.

Sea Garden –


Another point of attraction for tourists is represented by the Sea Gardens. These consist of an astronomic observatory, a planetarium, a tower, playgrounds, a zoo, as well as a summer theater where many cultural events are held.

The Museum of Archeology has on display a multitude of miniature representations of dwelling structures from the Paleolithic Era, as well as many ancient works of art. The museum holds one of the most impressive and largest collections from the country which contains early Christian items, religious objects, and items from the 13th and 14th centuries.

Navy Museum –


The Navy Museum is situated in the Maritime Park and offers insight into the Bulgarian Navy from the 1878 until the present day. This means that items of all sorts, from canons, to old anchors and ships are on display so that curious eyes can gaze upon them.

There is one unique museum that you can find in Varna and nowhere else in the Balkan region: the Museum of Medicine. The initial edifice was erected as a hospital and a small museum was annexed to this, but in time the building was transformed into an exhibition hall where samples of medicinal and aromatic plants, as well as instruments used in the medicinal field are on display.   

At the Museum of History and Art, tourists can admire the Golden Treasure – the oldest gold to have been processed (six thousand years ago), as well as various objects made out of gold (3000 in number) , such as decorative items and pieces of jewelry.

Jul 03

Pleven Regional Historical Museum (Muzeul Istoric Regional, Pleven)

The Pleven Regional Historical Museum is an institution dedicated to scientific discoveries and to education. The items comprised within the walls of the museum are monuments of historical and cultural importance, items of archeological value, and samples of plant life and wildlife.

Remnants of the ancient towns Ulpia Oescus (Roman town), of the Byzantine fortress of Storgozia, found in close proximity of Pleven, as well as the medieval Bulgarian stronghold located in Nikopol can also be admired here.


Overall, the museum focuses on gathering information of the historical past, but there is also a section dedicated to the study of natural science. In order to get an idea about the items tourists are bound to encountered at this specific museum, it is relevant to analyze the structural organization of the institution.

Numismatics Section -


The museum is divided into segments, each dedicated to a particular subject: archeology, the history of Bulgaria from the 15th to the 19th centuries, natural science, scientific documents, photography, modern history. The archeological items are distributed chronologically in 6 halls, but are divided in three: the prehistorical period, the Roman period and the Middle Ages. The items found here include household objects such as vessels, sculptures, basoreliefs, mosaics, pieces of jewelry, as well as reenactments of the structures used as dwellings in different historical times.


There is also a department dedicated solely to retracing the historical past of the civilizations  which have dwelt in Pleven throughout time – this is the “Ethnography” section. Tourists can gain knowledge into the way the people of Pleven have led their life, as well as into the characteristics that have made up their culture. This means learning about the occupations, life, and attire of the people. More so, tourists can actually see how the dwellings presented themselves both on the exterior and on the interior.

The exhibition entitled “Bulgarian Revival” addresses various issues. There are items and documentary evidence which attest the impact that the Ottoman oppresion had on the Bulgarian population. Other subsections of this exhibition reflect the influence that Russia and Europe in general had on this nation throughout the 15th-19th centuries, the changes brought about by the Bulgarian Revolution, the economical development, and so on. The museum is a true source of knowledge so if you are determined to find out more about the history of Bulgaria, in general, ad about the history of Pleven, in particular, this is the place to visit.


The museum itself is a cultural emblem, the edifice bearing significant national importance. The building has two floors and measures 7000 square meters. What is more, the exhibitions break the boundaries created by the walls of the museum, meaning that items are on display outside of the building, in the park adjacent to this. Just imagine how much insight you can get into the history of Bulgaria out of the multitude of items found at the Pleven Regional Historical Museum (more than 180.000 objects) and at the library located within the museum – which comprises more than 10.000 scientifical volumes.

From the second half of the 20th century (1976) onward, this museum, together with other Bulgarian museums from the northwestern part of the state, has contributed to the publication of an annual journal: “The Bulletin of the Museums in the Northwest Bulgaria.” Up to date, 27 volumes have come out of the printer.

May 31

Rozhen Monastery (Manastirea Rozhen)

Bulgaria is the home of no less than 120 monasteries which have survived the passage of time and which stand today before whomever decides to take the time and admire them as symbols of the cultural, architectural and historical past of the Bulgarian population.

Rozhen Monastery is one of the oldest and biggest monasteries in this state. The actual date when the edifice was constructed is shrouded in the unknown, but there are official documents which attest the existence of the monastery in the 13th century. Whether or not the construction date is further into the past, we cannot tell, but even so, Rozhen Monastery can be traced back to this century and this alone is a statement of the monastery’s ‘age.’


This sanctuary is located at the foot of the Pirin Mountains, at a 1 km distance from Rozhen. The site where the edifice was erected is breathtaking, as the monastery is encompassed by marble cliffs and dense forests.


The document in which the monastery was first mentioned was a Greek manuscript written at a time when the region was ruled by the Despot Slav. This led historians to believe that it was in fact this ruler who constructed the edifice somewhere in the 12th or the 13th century. Another manuscript, in the 1551, makes reference to the monastery, this time the author was one of the abbots of the sanctuary, abbot Cosma.


Even though it has been mentioned that the edifice was preserved in time, it does not mean that the monastery we can gaze upon today is the original one built in the 13th century. In fact, Rozhen Monastery had suffered considerable damages due to a fire that took hold of the monastic complex, but also due to the pillages it was subjected to. The present-day monastery is actually the result of the restoration work conducted in the 16th century. The main church, the dining room and some of the dwelling rooms are preserved from that time.

Another restoration work took place in the first decades of the 18th century, but the main church was not restored until 1732. Probably the most relevant period in the history of the monastery was the 19th century because, by this time, Rozhen had become a true spiritual center, not to mention that it was quite well off, as many of the surrounding lands were the property of the monastery.



The monastery has an irregular form consisting of 6 angles. The complex is formed of residential buildings (towards the exterior), the main church (right in the middle), the dining room, and a beautiful garden.

The interior decoration, mainly the paintings in the nave, narthex and chapel, was done in 1732. The method used in the representations is quite obvious – that of narration, through the impressive number of paintings which adorn the walls of the church (more than 150).

The monastery is well-renowned due to its beautiful frescoes, iconostases and murals (most of which date from the 18th century). But the church has also seen some impressive fresco works in the 16th century, when the narthex was adorned with illustrations representing  various scenes from the life of Christ after the Resurrection.  The 17th century also witnessed valuable paintings. The southern wall was painted to the exterior in this period (1611), as well as the catacomb of John the Baptist, where scenes from its lifetime are depicted.


Tourists can admire the beautiful woodcarving of the iconostasis found in the altar, mural paintings and the impressive icons which adorn the church, all bearing important artistic value.

To the north-west of the church, one can find the St. Cosma and Damian Chapel, heavy on decorative elements, among which the paintings on the walls stand out.

At present, Rozhen Monastery is opened for visitation all year round. While one cannot find accommodation within the monastic complex, this is available a half kilometer down the road.

May 17

The Sveta Troitsa Church (Biserica Sf. Treime)

The Sveta Troitsa Church, or the Church of the Holy Trinity, is situated in Bulgaria, at about 10 km north of Veliko Tarnovo. The monastic ensemble is located on the right bank of Yantra River. Sveta Troitsa Church is also known as a “patriarchal monastery” and it is actually pretty close to the site of the original monastery which was built in this region and bore the same name (within 1 km).


According to the historical data, the church has been erected in 1070, on the 27th of January. The founders of the church are said to be Georgi, a highly religious man from the region, and his son, Kalin.  We know when the church was erected due to a piece of rock on which the exact date was inscribed.

This was discovered under the altar of the old church from 1846 when the construction work for the present-day church had begun. The initial plan was to construct the church within a fortified encompassing which can be found on the road that connects Samovodene and Veliko Tarnovo. But the church ended up being erected on the site of an older church. The interior decorations, including the icons which adorn the church, are the work of the famous painter Zakhari Zograf Hristovich, original from Samokov.


But the church was destroyed completely on the 14th of June, 1913, as the entire region was shaken by an earthquake. Some of the old icons are preserved to this day, one of the oldest being the one illustrating the Holy Trinity (dates from 1708). The church was restored in 1927 and the look conveyed with this occasion is the one we can see today.


The edifices which hold the rooms for the officials of the monastery have been constructed between 1946 and 1948. Close by, there is a small chapel dedicated to the Birth of the Son of God. The throne found within the church is actually a pagan altar which had been brought here from the Roman Temple in Nicopolis ad Istrum (a Roman and Early Byzantine town founded by Trajan).

On the rim of the throne lies an inscription which says that the throne was dedicated to the Olympus Goods Zeus, Hera and Athena, and was built in the honor of the Roman Emperor Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus.


The architectural design is the merit of Nikola Fichev, the most renowned Bulgarian architect of that time. The church, which measures 30 m in length, consists of three naves which are supported by means of thin and tall columns, a main dome, and three other smaller domes.

The church stands out from the rest due to the uniqueness of its architecture. Nikola Fichev had distanced himself from the standard design used in the construction of Orthodox edifices and the eastern façade of the Church of the Holy Trinity stands as evidence for this – as it is basically an immense apse.


The iconostasis, which dates from 1870-1872, measures 16 m in length and 10 m in height. The artist to construct this church item was Anton Peshev, but the painter who illustrated the 73 icons found on the iconostasis was Nikolay Pavlovich. The church also comprises a baroque architectural element, the bell tower which was constructed later on (1883-1886) and followed the plan developed by Gencho Novakov.

The Church of the Holy Trinity is an important monument as it tells a chapter of the Bulgarian nation history. The efforts of Patriarch Eftimie to improve the Bulgarian language have been continued by his followers and all the work led to a better command of the language as well as to the development of the art of writing.

May 03

Tseravets Fortress (Fortareata Tseravets)

This fortress is located on Tseravets Hill (which explains the name of the fortress) and it was actually the first citadel under the Second Bulgarian Empire – The Second Bulgarian Empire was the most powerful state in the southeastern part of the European continent for 2 centuries (from the 1185 until 1393).

The citadel, which was erected on the foundations of a former Byzantine construction, held within its walls the royal residence and patriarchal palaces. But the original construction (the Byzantine one) has been constructed between the 5th and the 7th centuries.


The structure of the keep consisted of walls, which measure 10 feet in thickness, and of 3 gates. The main entrance to the citadel was found on the western part of the edifice, whilst the second one was located at a 60-feet distance from the first one. As it has been mentioned there was a third gate as well but this was demolished after 1889.

Tseravets Fortress is actually an ensemble of fortified edifices. The royal residence has in its turn a fortified wall through which access is done by means of two gates (on the northern and on the southern parts). The structure of this palace, which measures 4872 square meters, comprises two towers, a throne room and a church.


The Patriarchal Palace is impressive through its stature. It is extremely elevated, pointing toward the sky. In 1981, when Bulgaria celebrated 1300 years since the state took form, the edifice was restored. The painting work occurred in 1985 as a way to celebrate the liberation of Vizantia. The paintings were illustrative of different medieval times in the history of Bulgaria.

The archeological discoveries concluded that the hills were originally the site of residential neighborhoods, as the number of edifices found on the site exceeded 420: the number of dwellings calculated surpassed 400, while 18 were churches.


The restoration work for Tseravets Fortress was initiated in 1930 and was carried on for a great number of years. In 1930, the first gate was restored, together with the Baldwin Tower. The fortification located at the top of the ensemble of buildings did not receive any mending until 1981. But the decoration of this edifice was done 4 years later.

But even if the entire project seems to have been quite strenuous, what counts is the result, and that is that the edifice has been preserved more or less to its original look. And this means that tourists can gaze on the medieval fortification. (However, there are actually divergences in terms of the fortification having been remodeled according to the initial plan. Scientists are actually adamant in their conclusion that the ensemble was transformed during restoration).


Today, visitors can barely recognize what was once a monastery (dating from the 12th century). The remains of this edifice are found next to the fortified walls, but not much can be made of them. In the northern part of the ensemble, visitors can see the remains of another monastery, this one dating from the 13th century. An important attraction is the so-called Execution Rock, named this way due to the purpose for which it had been used. Traitors of the Empire were forced to ascend the rock from whence they were pushed into the river below, the Yantra.

It is truly amazing how you seem to traverse time and enter into a totally different period. Whilst some of the edifices have been badly or completely ruined by the passage of time, as well as by the hand of man, there are sites which still recall of the glorious days of the medieval city.